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YHA London Alfresco: Experience the best outdoor events near our London hostels this summer
    22/07/2015 09:35

London Alfresco: Experience the best outdoor events near our London hostels this summer

London Alfresco: Experience the best outdoor events near our London hostels this summer

London is a city which comes alive in the warmer months, and every year the city’s parks and open spaces welcome a variety of vibrant outdoor events and festivals. From food festivals to cycling events, there are a fantastic range of activities to get involved in this year and most offer very affordable prices.

Outdoor London during July and August is very much a happy London and this year there is something for everyone in locations from East to West. So whether you’re a London backpacker or fancy a unique London getaway next month, our events guide should give you some fresh ideas for your Summer itinerary.

Kew Gardens, London

Image Jim Linwood

Spices at Kew

From 23rd May until 6th September Kew Gardens is playing host to a fragrant festival celebrating the world of spice. From the most basic daily condiments to those that are worth more than gold, Kew is going to be packed out with spices all summer, exploring the botanical origins of some of the many spices out there. Visitors will have the opportunity to travel around the gardens on rickshaw-inspired vehicles and there are opportunities to create your own unique spices, learn about the medicinal properties of some and enjoy vibrantly spiced delicacies from an array of street food vans, the pop-up bread kitchen and the garden’s popular restaurants.


Every year the giant purple cow emerges just behind the London Eye and is often met with bemusement from the passing tourists. This purple cow is The Udderbelly, home to a 400-seat temporary venue which provides tons of entertainment from cabaret to comedy and even children’s shows. The venue has gradually built up a reputation as a summertime hub for alternative comedy and stays open from April to July each year. Things have stepped up a notch this year as next the magical London Wonderground has been erected next to the Udderbelly. This new attraction is a huge Spiegel tent where you’ll find circus, cabaret and outlandish entertainment. There’s a truly summery feel to both these outdoor venues and with comedians such as Katherine Ryan and James Acaster being thrown into the mix this year, there is a lot to be excited about.

Notting Hill Carnival, London

Image Somewhere In the world today

Notting Hill Carnival

The highlight of the London calendar for many people. You can’t visit London in August and not spend some time enjoying the flamboyance and Caribbean spectacle offered up by the Notting Hill Carnival. The party atmosphere takes over 30th and 31st August and brings the multicultural past of London to life, interspersing it with the vivacity of the present. Notting Hill Carnival has been getting bigger and better since 1964 and the Caribbean communities of the city always put on a huge party to remember. Enjoy fantastic live music from deb to salsa and look out for the soca floats, authentic steel bands and plenty of chances to grab a traditional Jamaican pattie or goat curry. Our YHA London Earls Court is one of the standout nearby London hostels and is ideally situated for visiting revellers.

Image Andreas Kambanls

Ride London

This August, London will be hosting a weekend-long celebration of cycling with the return of the increasingly popular RideLondon event. With an eight mile loop of central London road closures set to take place on August 1st and 2nd, expect to see hordes of cyclists, amateurs and experts alike, taking to the streets in the heart of the city. The event is free to all but does require registration beforehand on the RideLondon website. A number of our London hostels, including YHA London Central and YHA London Oxford Street, lie in close proximity to the cycle route and are likely to provide ample accommodation for all kinds of weary cyclists.

The Scoop

For wonderful music, shows and scenes across the Thames with absolutely no fee to pay, the Scoop open air theatre on the banks of the River near to City Hall is the place to visit. This outdoor amphitheatre sits on the south side of the river and has space for up to 800 people. Performances are planned throughout the summer, including film screenings, musical performances and more. It’s a great way to spend your evenings in the city and is within comfortable walking distance of YHA London Thameside for quality, affordable accommodation.

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